Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: May 27, 2020 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Well it looks like the National Hockey League has got it’s plan in place to finish their 2019-20 season. Now all we need to know is the official start date and where they’ll be playing.

This news came out last week and not much of anything has changed. It’s going to be a 24-team playoff format. The top four seeds in each division will get byes and play each other in a round robin tournament while the remaining teams will face off in best of five game series.

Here’s how this shakes out:

In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins (44-14-12, 100 points), Tampa Bay Lightning (43-21-6, 92 points), Washington Capitals (41-20-8, 90 points) and Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7, 89 points) will each have a bye and play each other once to determine the order of the top four seeds for the first round of the playoffs.

In the Western Conference, the St. Louis Blues (42-19-10, 94 points), Colorado Avalanche (42-20-8, 92 points), Vegas Golden Knights (39-24-8, 86 points) and Dallas Stars (37-24-8, 82 points) will each have a bye and play round-robin to determine their seeding order.

Back into the Eastern Conference. The Qualifying Round will have four best-of-5 series: the Pittsburgh Penguins (40-23-6, 86 points) vs. the Montreal Canadiens (31-31-9, 71 points); the Carolina Hurricanes (38-25-5, 81 points) vs. the New York Rangers (37-28-5, 79 points); the New York Islanders (35-23-10, 80 points) vs. the Florida Panthers (35-26-8, 78 points); and the Toronto Maple Leafs (36-25-9, 81 points) vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets (33-22-15, 81 points).

While over in the Western Conference best-of-5 qualifying round series are: the Edmonton Oilers (37-25-9, 83 points) vs. the Chicago Blackhawks (32-30-8, 72 points); the Nashville Predators (35-26-8, 78 points) vs. the Arizona Coyotes (33-29-8, 74 points); the Vancouver Canucks (36-27-6, 78 points) vs. the Minnesota Wild (35-27-7, 77 points); and the Calgary Flames (36-27-7, 79 points) vs. the Winnipeg Jets (37-28-6, 80 points).

It seems like the NHL would like to get this started by July 1st, but that hasn’t been made official just yet. It also appears as there will be a two to three week training camp for teams to prepare for this playoff format.

The plan is for these games to be played in two cities which are still undecided. In a perfect world these two cities would be in different time zones to help out the television broadcast, but that’s not a priority according to the NHL. The NHL’s commissioner Gary Bettman has said the decision on the hub cities and when play will begin will depend on COVID-19 conditions, testing ability and government regulations. A comprehensive system for testing will be in place in each hub city, and each team will be permitted to travel a maximum of 50 personnel, including players, coaches and staff.

While it’s still unclear where these games ight be played it does look like the NHL has narrowed it’s choices to 10 cities. Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver are all in the running to host.

If the NHL can get this up and running it will put them in a very interesting position. While we have soccer, NASCAR and the Korean Baseball Organization to watch none of the four what are considered major sports have had a plan in place until this one. Now to be fair the NFL season is still months away and they haven’t missed any games because of this pandemic.

I would be very interested to know if non-NHL fans would tune into these games to get a sports watching fix; so to speak. If they did it could be a big, big opportunity for the NHL to get some new fans.

Major League Baseball ha stated that they’d like to start their season on July 4th weekend and if they did that would hurt the NHL’s drawing power, but with the trouble that the MLB owners are having trying to get a agreement done with the players union it’s looking less and less like they’ll make that July 4th start date.

The other question of course is; what will the National Basketball Association do?

The NBA has announced that they where looking at a two city plan like the NHL is going with, but they knew that they’d be playing games in Orlando Florida and Las Vegas Nevada. It makes sense for the NBA to do this because they play summer league games in these cities.

Unfortunately this is all we know about what the NBA might do. The National Basketball Players Association executive director Michelle Roberts used the term “overwhelming” when discussing if the players wanted to finish the 2019-20 season.

It’s been reported that a joint task force between the NBA and the NBPA has been working together to negotiate the plans for a possible return to action. They reportedly hope to issue guidelines about a return to play before June 1. Roberts does not believe the union will need to vote on these plans because of the collective bargaining that has already taken place through the joint task force and the calls she is making with every team.

It looks like will have to wait and see if we get some news on what the NBA is going to do come June 1st. Will they use a playoff format similar to what the NHL is doing? Or will they actually try and finish the regular season? Hopefully will find out soon.

Let’s say the NHL gets it’s plan off the ground and they start playing on July 1st and maybe the NBA isn’t too far behind. The biggest question of course is; will you be watching? I think right out of the gate it’s almost not going to matter what sport is on just a long as it’s a sport that draws decent interest. Don’t forget that when NASCAR had it’s first race it had over 6.3 million people watch it. Do you think a returning NHL game would do as well or better than that?

Tune in to the live broadcast of Sports Time Radio on BlogTalkRadio.com. We’ve been starting the podcast at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday due to Dan the Man’s current work schedule, but hopefully will be returning to our regular 5:30 p.m. start time soon. Of course Schaumburg Stu and I our still start at 5:00 p.m. on Fridays; so listen.

Also if you miss the podcast live remember all you have to do is swing by TuneIn.com and you can listen whenever you want.

You can also find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

Comments
  1. I’m going to assume that the games will be played in an empty arena. That will be tough to get used to because crowd reaction certainly enhances a sporting event, especially the playoffs. But it’s better than no sporting events at all.

    Like

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